Category Archive: News


Mar 02 2015

Voting now open for the 2015 top VMware & virtualization blogs

The number of blogs devoted to VMware and virtualization continues to grow, this year there are more than 400 of them on the ballot. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation to the bloggers for all their hard work by picking your favorites which will determine the top blogs for 2015. Last year over 1,400 people voted from all over the world and when the votes were tallied the top 50 bloggers were revealed. Not it’s time to do it all over again as new blogs are born and old blogs fade away and bloggers move up and down the rankings. When casting your votes please keep the following in mind about the blogs.

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.

So please take all this into account when casting your votes, here are some more details on the voting:

  • You can pick 10 of your favorite blogs and also rank them in your order of preference after you pick your 10. The results will be weighted with #1 ranking getting 10 points and #10 rankings getting 1 point. Point totals will be tabulated and from them the top 50 will be determined.
  • Blogs are listed on the ballot  in alphabetical order, the current top 50 blogs are highlighted with their current ranking in parentheses and are also bolded so they stand out. So please go through the whole list when making your choices (Duncan ended up on the bottom).
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting so first pick and rank your top 10 overall favorite blogs and then choose your favorite blog in each category.
  • Voting will run until 3/16, afterwards the results will be determined and announced on a special live podcast with myself, Simon Seagrave, David Davis, John Troyer and Infinio.
  • Duplicate vote protection is enabled, we’ll be using geolocation, IP addresses & cookies to protect against duplicate votes. This isn’t Chicago, please be honest and fair when voting, any suspicious votes will be tossed.
  • If you are not familiar with a blog you can click on it in the survey to view it or use my vLaunchpad to see links to them all. Try not to pick blogs based just on names but also take content into account. There are a lot of good blogs currently not in the top 50 that deserve to be there.
  • Also please keep it classy and don’t try and work the voting system to get your blog ranked as high as possible.

This year I thought I would do something different and designed a custom commemorative coin that each of the top 50 bloggers will receive. I had wanted to do separate coins for Top 10, Top 25 and Top 50 but that would of required paying for a separate die mold for each which gets costly. So instead I put Top 50 on the coin and am using different metal finishes to signify this. The Top 10 will get a Shiny Gold coin, 11-25 will get a Antique Silver coin and 26-50 will get a Antique Copper coin.

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Of course all this is made possible by Infinio who is the official sponsor for Top vBlog 2015, stay tuned for more info as things will be starting up soon.

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So what are you waiting for, head on over and take the survey to cast your ballot and reward the best bloggers for their hard work and dedication by letting them know that you appreciate them.

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Feb 26 2015

Last chance before Top vBlog begins – don’t miss out

 

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The vLaunchpad is all up to date with additions and changes so if you are not listed on there right now you won’t be part of the voting so make sure you go look. Note I did add a few late additions to the bottom of the Virtualization Blogs column that are out of order alphabetically, I’ll put them in the right spot later on. Use this form for any changes or additions.

The Top vBlog voting will open late Friday (hopefully – it might slip to Saturday) so this is your very last chance to be a part of it if you are not already there. Also if you haven’t nominated for one of the categories yet go do so quickly if your blog fits in one of them.

Feb 22 2015

You might have 99 problems but vSphere 6 links ain’t one…

My vSphere 6 link collection continues to grow so get caught up on everything you need to know about this exciting new release before vSphere 6 GA’s soon.

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Feb 20 2015

Top vBlog Update

Just wanted to give everyone an update as I’m a little behind, the vSphere 6 launch coincided with the voting this year and I’m trying to keep up on my vSphere 6 link page as well.

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I’m still updating the vLaunchpad, so if you don’t see your blog up there yet it should be soon. Don’t worry as the voting won’t start until it is updated. The update process is a pain in the butt and very time consuming, it’s basically a table that I have to cut and paste code for each blog from every cell I move either up and down to alphabetize and organize them all. When adding new blogs I have to put each blog’s info (name, URL, rss, twitter) into an html string to paste into new cell (see below figure).

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To do this I have to build out a big text file with all the html code for each cell (see below figure) and then have to paste it all in the table in the right order alphabetically. All this is very time-consuming which is why I queue updates and then update the vLaunchpad periodically. A new blog that is alphabetically near the top of the alphabet (i.e. AAA Virtual Blog) makes it more difficult as I have to cut and paste one by one all those cells below it down one. One of these days I’ll see if I can find an easier way to do it, I’ve been looking around at WordPress plug-ins and haven’t found one that would work well, I might have to switch to a database model instead of a table. I’ll be working this weekend to get it all up to date.

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As a result of this the voting start has been moved out a week to 2/27, the landing page has been updated with new dates.

A reminder if you haven’t nominated your blog for one of the special categories (if it fits in one) be sure and do so for a chance to get special recognition. I’ll do another post once the vLaunchpad is updated (probably Sunday) so you can do a final check to make sure your blog is listed before voting begins. I did have some issues with my suggest a link form a few weeks ago from my hosting provider not sending emails, so be sure and check next week to make sure I didn’t miss your blog.

I look forward to getting this started and publishing the results for 2015 as well as getting this over with as the whole process from start to finish is massively time-consuming. If you want to buy me a beer to support all my hard work feel free to use my beer fund donation link located at the bottom of the blog sidebar. Thanks and good luck to all the bloggers this year!

UPDATE:
As of 5:00pm MST on Sunday 2/22 the vLaunchpad is all up to date from all the submissions, I added over 50 additional blogs. Go over there and look and if you are not listed use this form asap and voting starts soon.




 

Feb 19 2015

New technical paper on implementing VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs)

Want to know more about the new VVOL storage architecture that is coming soon in vSphere 6? HP has just published a new Technical Implementation Guide for VVOLs on 3PAR StoreServ. I managed the creation, development and review of this paper and actually had a hand in writing some of it. So give it a read if you want to learn what VVOLs is all about and how to implement it. Want to know even more about VVOLs including what other vendors are doing with it, be sure and check our my Virtual Volumes link page.

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Feb 16 2015

Veeam slays the giant Symantec in patent court

 

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If you remember back a few years ago backup giant Symantec filed a lawsuit against up and coming start-up Veeam basically claiming that they invented virtualization backup and Veeam was violating several of Symantec’s patent’s, they also files a similar lawsuit against Acronis. Symantec’s claim was that Veeam was “free riding” on the backup technologies that Symantec invented:

Important!

Symantec recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Acronis and yesterday filed suit against Veeam Software. Symantec invests deeply in its research and development in order to provide its customers with innovative technologies. Acronis and Veeam unlawfully leverage Symantec patented technologies in their respective backup and replication products. This free riding on Symantec is wrong and Symantec has filed these lawsuits to protect its intellectual property.

You can read the full court filing against Veeam at this link. I’m not sure how the Acronis case ended up, they counter-sued Symantec and it sounds like Acronis will win that case. As far as Veeam goes it looks like they too will be victorious as they went after the patents in question as being unpatentable and several of the patents listed in the case were recently invalidated. The patents in question have to do with techniques for backing up VMs in virtual environments, lets take a look at them:

Important!

US 7093086 B1 – Disaster recovery and backup using virtual machines
Filing date Mar 28, 2002 – Publication date Aug 15, 2006
One or more computer systems, a carrier medium, and a method are provided for backing up virtual machines. The backup may occur, e.g., to a backup medium or to a disaster recovery site, in various embodiments. In one embodiment, an apparatus includes a computer system configured to execute at least a first virtual machine, wherein the computer system is configured to: (i) capture a state of the first virtual machine, the state corresponding to a point in time in the execution of the first virtual machine; and (ii) copy at least a portion of the state to a destination separate from a storage device to which the first virtual machine is suspendable. A carrier medium may include instructions which, when executed, cause the above operation on the computer system. The method may comprise the above highlighted operations.

This patent basically describes how every backup vendor performs a backup of a VM in a virtualized environment by taking a snapshot of a VM  and then copying the read-only image of that VM’s virtual disk to any target destination. VM snapshots are certainly not a Symantec innovation and this patent describes the common sense method of backing up VMs. If this is indeed patent-able there are a lot more backup vendors in peril from this. This patent was one of the ones that had parts of it recently invalidated.

Important!

US 6931558 B1 – Computer restoration systems and methods
Filing date Nov 30, 2001 – Publication date Aug 16, 2005
A method restores a client device of a network on major failure of the client device. The client device is incapable of automatically booting on its own. The network includes a server computer. The method includes booting the client device over the network in the restoration operation, configuring the client device according to the boot program and saved configuration states for the client device, and copying files to the client device in accordance with the configuration. The client computer has access to a storage manager application, such as a server computer of the network operating a storage management software program. All client files, including configuration files, as well as application and data files, of the client device are saved on the network by the storage manager application. The client device is booted over the network, rather than locally to the client device by boot disk or otherwise. The boot program is loaded to the client device, and the client device retrieves configuration and file information over the network from the storage manager application. The client device configures its disk according to the configuration information, and then all other files and data of the client device at the time of failure of the client device are saved on the disk substantially in the condition and state just prior to the failure and as most recently backed up to the storage manager application. Alternatively, the client device is reset and booted via a control device either locally or otherwise connected to the client device, and substantially according to the method of the network boot.

This one has to do with restoring a server and is not really specific to virtualization. It describes the process of doing a bare metal restore of a server by booting a server over a network (i.e. PXE) and completely restoring it. I suppose you could loosely tie it in to virtualization as when you are performing an image level restore of a VM you are doing a similar operation, this one is pretty weak though. Again parts of this patent were recently invalidated.

Important!

US 7191299 B1 – Method and system of providing periodic replication
Filing date May 12, 2003 – Publication date Mar 13, 2007
A method and system of providing periodic replication is disclosed. According to one embodiment, a method is provided which comprises creating a storage object corresponding to a data volume, wherein the storage object comprises a point-in-time copy of the data volume and a data volume map; and replicating the data volume utilizing the storage object.

This one is pretty vague as it describes replication of storage via either hardware or software and at various levels within an enterprise (e.g., database transaction, file system, or block-level access) via either synchronous or asynchronous methods. Again this patent describes a conceptual method of replicating data and if it was upheld almost every storage vendor and hundreds of other companies would be guilty of violating it. Again parts of this patent were recently invalidated.

Important!

US 7254682 B1 – Selective file and folder snapshot image creation
Filing date Jul 28, 2004 – Publication date Aug 7, 2007
Tools and techniques are provided for using a snapshot, not a full volume copy, to preserve deleted items when creating an image file with other items from a computer storage volume. One method classifies items as desired or not, enables snapshotting, then deletes undesired items, then creates a blockwise volume image in which the deleted items are not imaged, and finally disables snapshotting. Systems and configured storage media for imaging selected files and folders are also provided.

This final one has is a bit more specific and has to do with image-level snapshots and methods for using a snapshot and creating an image file that holds selected items found on a computer-readable storage volume, without permanently removing data from the volume. This includes methods for using a snapshot, rather than a full volume copy, to preserve deleted items when creating an image file with other items from a computer storage volume. Veeam challenged this one as well but it looks like this one was not invalidated and I’m not sure what the state of this one is.

Patent laws can be notoriously troublesome and it’s good to see common sense prevail as it seems like companies are trying to patent just about anything these days, even simple things that everyone takes for granted. Symantec ending up dismissing with prejudice the ’558, ’299, and ’682 patents from the case in 2013 and the ‘086 patent was the only one that remained in the case. They did file an additional case concerning different patents (US 7024527 B1,US 8117168 B1, US 7831861 B1, US 7480822 B1) after their initial filing that Veeam also challenged and is still pending although I’m confident they will prevail there as well.

I know often times these types of cases are about money and protecting intellectual property but these patents were too generalized to hold up to a serious challenge. Personally I think Symantec felt threatened by Veeam’s success and tried to put the squeeze on them to hurt their business. If this was truly about money they would be suing a lot more companies than just Veeam. It’s good to see the little guys win, although Veeam is certainly not the little company today that they were years ago. Symantec picked a fight with Veeam and the bully in this case got his butt kicked. While this has all been playing out in the courtrooms it hasn’t impacted Veeam’s growth and success one bit, in a sense it serves to validate their success from the attention that Symantec gave them: If you can’t beat em, sue em.

You can read Veeam’s news release on the ongoing cases with Symantec here.

 

Feb 11 2015

Top vBlog 2015 is happening now

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The pre-voting category nominations have started and general voting will begin soon. For all the details check out the Top vBlog 2015 landing page and thank you to Infinio for sponsoring it this year. Bloggers don’t miss your chance to score one of these cool commemorative coins.

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Feb 05 2015

vSphere 6.0 Link-O-Rama

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Your complete guide to all the essential vSphere 6.0 links from all over the VMware universe. Bookmark this page and keep checking back as it will continue to grow as new links are added everyday.

Introducing VMware vSphere 6 – The Foundation for Hybrid Cloud (VMware News Release)
VMware Launches New Generation of Enterprise Storage — Virtual SAN 6 and vSphere Virtual Volumes to Enable Mass Adoption of Software-Defined Storage (VMware News Release)
vSphere 6 Hands-On Labs (VMware)

VMware What’s New Links

What’s New in the VMware vSphere 6.0 Platform (VMware Tech Paper)
What’s New: VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 (VMware Tech Paper)
What’s New in VMware vSphere with Operations Management 6.0? (VMware Tech Paper)
VMware vSphere Data Protection 6.0 Technical Overview (VMware Tech Paper)
VMware vSphere Replication 6.0 Technical Overview (VMware Tech Paper)
What’s New in vSphere 6 (VMware TV)

Availability (HA/DRS/FT) Links

vSphere 6: Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance (SMP-FT) (Cloud Fix)
vSphere 6 Availability Enhancements (Great White Tech)
vSphere 6 Fault Tolerance highlights and improvements (Running-System)
VMware vSphere 6 : What’s New – Multi-CPU Fault Tolerance (FT) (TechHead)
vSphere 6.0 blog – Fault Tolerance (VCDX56)
VMware vSphere 6 – The new FT feature (vInfrastructure)
VMware vSphere 6 – Availability (vInfrastructure Blog)
What’s new in vSphere 6.0 – Fault Tolerance Quick Peek (Virtual Pharaohs)
VMware vSphere 6 – Fault Tolerance (FT) Multi-Processor (Virtual-IT)
VMware HA: What’s New in vSphere 6? (Virtualization Practive)
Whats new in VMware Fault Tolerance 6.0 (VirtuallyLG)
Multiple vCPU Fault Tolerance on vSphere 6.0 (VM Bulletin)
What’s new in vSphere 6 Availability (VM Guru)
What’s new for HA in vSphere 6.0? (Yellow Bricks)

Documentation Links

Coming Soon!

Download Links

Coming Soon!

ESXi Links

Installing ESXi 6.0 with NVIDIA Card Gives Fatal Error 10: Out of Resources (elgwhoppo’s vNotebook)
Realtek NIC on vSphere 6 (VDI Cloud)
ESXi 6.0 works OOTB for Apple Mac Mini & Mac Pro (Virtually Ghetto)
How to configure an All-Flash VSAN 6.0 Configuration using Nested ESXi? (Virtually Ghetto)
Updated VSAN 6.0 Nested ESXi OVF Templates for 64 Nodes, All-Flash Array & Fault Domain Testing (Virtually Ghetto)
Back to basics – Configuring the ESXi management interface via DCUI (VirtXpert)

General Links

Summary of What’s New in vSphere 6 (vSphere-land)
Top 6 Features of vSphere 6 (Blue Shift Blog)
vSphere 6: New features! (CloudFix)
What’s new in vSphere 6! (Default Reasoning)
What’s new in vSphere 6.0 (Derek Seaman)
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction (Derek Seaman)
New Features in vSphere 6 (Eck Tech)
vSphere 6 Features – New Config Maximums, Long Distance vMotion and FT for 4vCPUs (ESX Virtualization)
What’s new in vSphere 6? (IvoBeerens)
VMware vSphere 6.0 Release Revolution for Mobile Cloud Era (Long White Clouds)
vSphere 6 – What’s New (Mind Judo)
What’s new & cool in vSphere 6? (NerdKnobs)
What’s new in vSphere 6 (Features and Enhancements) (Running-System)
The new features of vSphere 6 (SnowVM Blog)
VMware announces vSphere V6 and associated virtualization technologies (Storage I/O Blog)
vSphere 6.0 Announced (The IT Hollow)
9 Things You’ll Love About vSphere 6.0 (The Lone Sysadmin)
What’s new in VMware vSphere 6? (The Virtual World of Marc O’Polo)
vSphere 6.0 whats new (The Virtualist)
Getting my mitts on the vSphere 6 bits including ESXi and vCSA, already enhancing my home lab (TinkerTry)
vSphere 6.0 – Feature List (VCDX133)
vSphere 6.0 notable features (vCrumbs)
VMware vSphere 6: Most important annoucements summarized (Viktorious)
vSphere 6 enhancements – Let’s take a look (Vipin V.K.)
vSphere 6 – epic on every level (Virtual Geek)
vSphere 6.0 What excites me (Virtual Me)
VMware reveals vSphere 6 ! (Virtualization & Cloud Computing)
vSphere 6.0 Launch: What’s in it for Service Providers (Virtualization Is Life!)
What new features are in vSphere 6.0 (VirtuallyLG)
VMware vSphere 6.0 is here! (Virtualization Team)
vSphere 6 – It’s here and it saves you time! (VM Techy)
vSphere 6.0 -Difference between vSphere 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 and vSphere 6.0 (VMware Arena)
New VMware vSphere 6 Training Courses (VMware Education and Certification Blog)
VMware launches vSphere 6 – What’s in ESXi 6.0 for free license and white box users? (VMware Front Experience)
Announcing vSphere 6: Virtualize Applications with Confidence (VMware vSphere Blog)
What’s New with vSphere Data Protection 6.0 and vSphere Replication 6.0 (VMware vSphere Blog)
vSphere 6 – Clarifying the misinformation (VMware vSphere Blog)
vSphere 6.0 Announced! (vNetWise)
Reading between the lines: A great disturbance in the Force (vNinja)
What’s new in vSphere 6.0 (vPirate)
What’s New in vSphere 6 (Vroom Blog)
vSphere 6.0 (vTerkel)
VMware Embraces NFS 4.1, Supports Multipathing and Kerberos Authentication (Wahl Network)
Controlling a Virtual Data Center with vSphere 6 Policies, Profiles, and Tags (Wahl Network)
VMware vSphere 6 released (Wojcieh.net)
What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Finally Announced (at last!) (WoodITWork)
vSphere 6.0 finally announced! (Yellow Bricks)

Installing & Upgrading Links

vSphere Upgrade Saga: Planning for vSphere 6.0 (AstroArch)
vSphere 6: Upgrade Considerations (Ather Beg’s Useful Thoughts)
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction (Derek Seaman)
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 2: Platform Services Controller (Derek Seaman)
How to Install VMware VCSA 6.0 (ESX Virtualization)
VMware: Back to the basics – Installing ESXi 6.0 (jorgedelacruz.es)
ESXi 6 Installation (Tayfun Deger)
VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Installation (Tayfun Deger)
Sneak Preview – Build your own vSphere 6 home datacenter in about an hour (TinkerTry)
vSphere 6.0 Basics – Part 1 – ESXi Install (VCDX133)
vSphere 6.0 Basics – Part 2 – vSphere Client Install (VCDX133)
vSphere 6.0 Basics – Part 3 – vCenter Server Appliance Install (VCDX133)
vSphere 6.0 Basics – Part 4 – Installing vCenter Server with Windows Server 2012 R2 (VCDX133)
vSphere 6.0 Basics – Part 5 – Installing vSphere Update Manager (VCDX133)
vSphere 6.0 Basics – Part 6 – Installing vSphere Authentication Proxy (VCDX133)
VMware vSphere 6 – Installation (vInfrastructure)
VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 Guided Installer Walkthrough (Virten.net)
VMware vCenter 6 Installation Steps (Virtualization Team)
Deploying vSphere 6.0 – ESXi Installation – Part 1 (virtualizemydc.ca)
Deploying vSphere 6.0 – vCenter Server Installation – Part 2 (virtualizemydc.ca)
Deploying vSphere 6.0 – vCenter Server Appliance Installation – Part 3 (virtualizemydc.ca)
Deploying vSphere 6.0 – Platform Services Controller – Part 4 (virtualizemydc.ca)
Upgrading to vSphere 6: Part 1 – How & What to plan for (Virtually Everywhere)
Upgrading to vSphere 6: Part 2- Upgrading a simple install (Virtually Everywhere)
Back to basics – Installing VMware ESXi 6 (VirtXpert)
VMware: Install VMware vCenter Server 6.0.0 (VM Pros)
[Guide] How to install VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0 in VMware Workstation 10 on Windows 8.1 (VMware and Me)
[Guide] Install ESXi 6.0 on VMware Workstation 11 (VMware and Me)
[Guide] How to Install vSphere Update Manager 6.0 on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 step by step (VMware and Me)
[Guide] How to Install VMware vCenter Server 6.0 on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 step by step  (VMware and Me)

Knowledgebase Articles Links

Coming Soon!

Licensing Links

Coming Soon!

Networking Links

What’s new in vSphere 6 Networking (Tayfun Deger)
What’s new in vSphere 6 Networking (VMGuru)
What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Networking (WoodITWork)

News/Analyst Links

With vSphere 6, VMware Gives Its Server Virtualization Cash Cow A Makeover (CRN)
VMware PEX: VMware Introduces VSAN 6, Takes Wrapper Off VVOLs (CRN)
VIDEO – VMware’s new wares: vSphere 6, VSAN 6, new unified platform (IT Wire)
VMware vSphere 6 Revealed (ServerWatch)
VMware vSphere 6 meets expectations, but little more (Tech Target)
VMware’s VSAN 6: All-flash option, more snaps, no data reduction (Tech Target)
vSphere 6.0 is BADASS. Not that I’ve played with it or anything. Ahem (The Register)
The joy of six: VMware ecstatic after finally emitting new vSphere (The Register)
Six-starved storage bods rush to support vSphere and VVOLs (The Register)
VMware announces vSphere 6.0 (Virtualization.info)
VMware announces Virtual SAN 6 and vSphere Virtual Volumes (Virtualization.info)
VMware Unveils vSphere 6 (Virtualization Review)
With vSphere 6, VMware Gets Another Solid Hit (Virtualization Review)
Breaking Down vSphere 6 (Virtualization Review)

OpenStack Links

A first look into VMware Integrated #OpenStack (VIO) (Juanma’s Blog)
VMware vSphere 6 Attacks Red Hat: VMware Integrated OpenStack (Virtualization Practice)
VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) Is Here! (vMiss.net)

Performance Links

How We Achieved 2 Million Transactions With All-Flash VSAN 6.0 (SanDisk IT Blog)
Virtualized Hadoop Performance with VMware vSphere 6 on High-Performance Servers Performance Study (VMware Tech Paper)

Release Notes Links

Coming Soon!

Scalability Links

VMware vSphere 6 – Scalability (Come Lo Feci)
VMware vSphere 6 : What’s New – Maximums (TechHead)
vSphere 6.0 blog – Configuration maximums (VCDX56)
VMware vSphere 6 – Scalability (vInfrastructure Blog)
VMware vSphere 6.0 Configuration Maximums (Virten.net)
What’s new in vSphere 6 Scalability (VM Guru)
vSphere 6.0 – New Configuration Maximums (VMware Arena)

Scripting/CLI/API Links

PowerCLI is now a Module! (Jonathan Medd’s Blog)
New vSphere 6.0 APIs for VSAN, VVOLs, NFS v4.1 & more! (Virtually Ghetto)
Handy new vSphere 6.0 APIs to be aware of (Virtually Ghetto)
Ultimate automation guide to deploying VCSA 6.0 Part 0 (Virtually Ghetto)
Increasing disk capacity simplified with VCSA 6.0 using LVM autogrow (Virtually Ghetto)
vimtop: esxtop for the VCSA 6.0 (Virtually Ghetto)

Security Links

ESXi 6.0 Security and Password Complexity Changes (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere 6.0 Hardening Guide – Overview of coming changes (VMware vSphere Blog)

Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Links

What is new in VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.0 (UP2V)

Storage Links

vSphere 6: mClock scheduler & reservations (Cloud Fix)
vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 1: NFS v4.1 (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 2: Storage DRS and SIOC (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 3: MSCS Improvements (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 4: VMFS, VOMA and VAAI (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere 6 Features – Mark or Tag local disk as SSD disk (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere 6 NFS4.1 does not include parallel striping! (Hans DeLeenheer)
vSphere 6: NFS 4.1 Finally Has a Use? (Stephen Foskett)
VMware SDS vision (vInfrastructure)
What’s new in vSphere 6 Storage (VM Guru)
vSphere 6.0 – NFS 4.1 supported with Kerberos Authentication and Multipathing (VMware Arena)
What’s New in vSphere 6.0: NFS Client (WoodITWork)
What is new for Storage DRS in vSphere 6.0? (Yellow Bricks)

vCenter Server Links

vSphere 6: Platform Services Controller (PSC): Design Decisions (Ather Beg’s Useful Thoughts)
What’s new in vSphere 6 – Content Library (Default Reasoning)
vCenter Appliance (vCSA) 6.0 – New & Improved (Emad Younis)
vSphere 6 Features – vCenter Server 6 Details, (VCSA and Windows) (ESX Virtualization)
What’s new in the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6.0 (IvoBeerens)
Installing the new vCenter 6.0 Appliance (NerdKnobs)
vSphere 6.0 blog – Multi Site Content Library (VCDX56)
vSphere 6.0 blog – vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) (VCDX56)
VMware vCenter Server 6 design (vInfrastructure)
VMware vCenter Server 6 adds more cloud features (vInfrastructure)
VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 (vCSA) Enhancements (Virten.net)
How to add AD Authentication in vCenter 6.0 (Platform Service Controller) (Virten.net)
How to Join AD Domain in vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 (vCSA) (Virten.net)
vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6 limitations removed (Virtualization Team)
What’s new in vSphere 6 vCenter Server (VM Guru)
[Guide] How to Configure VMware vCenter 6.0 Single Sign On (VMware and Me)
vSphere 6.0 – What’s New in vCenter Server 6.0 (VMware Arena)
Why vCenter Server Appliance(vCSA) 6.0 is Uber Awesome (vPirate)
vSphere 6.0 features : Content Library (vPirate)
Content Library Provides Snazzy New Home for Templates, ISO Images, and More (Wahl Network)
What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Enhanced Linked Mode (WoodITWork)

Virtual Machine Links

vSphere 6.0 blog – Virtual Machine Virtual Hardware (vHW 11) (VCDX56)

Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) Links

Click here for VVOLs link page

vMotion Links

vSphere 6: vMotion enhancements (Cloud Fix)
What is new for vMotion in vSphere 6.0? (Tayfun Deger)
VMware vSphere 6.0 vMotion Enhancements (Virten.net)
vMotion Evolves into vDistance (Virtualization Practice)
What’s new in vSphere 6 vMotion Enhancements (VM Guru)
What is new for vMotion in vSphere 6.0? (Yellow Bricks)

VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) Links

vSphere 6: VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA): Design Decisions (Ather Beg’s Useful Thoughts)
What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Certificate Management (WoodITWork)

VSAN Links

What’s New with VSAN in vSphere 6 (vSphere-land)
A brief overview of new Virtual SAN 6.0 features and functionality (Cormac Hogan)
vSphere 6 Features – VSAN 6.0 Technical Details (ESX Virtualization)
Virtual SAN 6.0 (Jason Gaudreau)
Virtual SAN 6 Rack Awareness – Software Defined Self Healing with Failure Domains (Live Virtually)
VMware Virtual SAN 6.0: All-Flash Configuration (Punching Clouds)
VMware announces Virtual SAN 6.0 (UP2V)
VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 (vBrainstorm)
Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6.0: What’s New (Viktorious)
VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 (vInfrastructure)
NexentaConnect: the unified storage for VMware VSAN (vInfrastructure)
Breaking Down VMware VSAN 6 (Virtualization Review)
What is new for Virtual SAN 6.0? (Yellow Bricks)
Virtual SAN and ESXTOP in vSphere 6.0 (Yellow Bricks)

vSphere Web Client Links

vSphere 6 Features – vSphere Client (FAT and Web Client) (ESX Virtualization)
vSphere 6 Web Client: Yes, Let’s go there… (Great White Technologies)
Features and Enhancements of the new vSphere 6 Web Client (Running-System)
VMware vSphere 6 – Client (vInfrastructure)
VMware vSphere 6.0 Web Client Enhancements (Virten.net)
vSphere 6.0 What’s New – Improved and Faster vSphere Web Client (VMware Arena)
vSphere 6.0 – vSphere Client is Still Alive with vSphere 6.0 !!! (VMware Arena)
vSphere 6 Web Client (VMware vSphere Blog)
vSphere 6.0 Web Client: Still Flash, But Vastly Better User Experience (Wahl Network)

Feb 02 2015

What’s New with VSAN in vSphere 6

VSAN in vSphere 6 reminds me of Steve Austin, the Bionic Man:

“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster.”

VSAN6-1

The version of VSAN goes from 1.0 in vSphere 5.5, to VSAN 6.0 which is in line with the new version of vSphere. I’m sure VMware did this to avoid confusion and ensure people didn’t think of it as a separate product from vSphere. This big jump from 1.0 to 6.0 is warranted though as there is a ton of new features and enhancements under the covers that greatly improve the usability, scalability and availability of VSAN and make it a truly enterprise worthy storage array. Here a summary of the big things that are new with VSAN in vSphere 6:

Two deployment modes, Hybrid or All-Flash

SSD’s are no longer just used for read caching and write buffering, they can now be used as primary storage as well in an All-Flash mode. The traditional model of magnetic hard disks and SSD’s is now referred to as Hybrid Mode. In Hybrid mode the SSDs function only as a read cache and write buffer as they did in vSphere 5.5, persistent data cannot be written to the SSD tier in Hybrid Mode.

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VSAN6-2

 

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All-Flash VSAN

No more spinning disk requirement, VMware is now an All-Flash vendor as SSD’s can be used to store persistent data. In this mode SSDs are still used for caching if you want to use different SSD classes for storages tiers. All-Flash VSAN supports a new more cost-effective all-flash 2-tier model that uses write-intensive, higher grade flash-based devices (i.e. SLC) for 100% of all write buffering and lower cost read-intensive flash-based devices (i.e. MLC or TLC) for data persistent.

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VSAN6-6

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Faster and bigger VSAN clusters

In vSphere 6 the number of hosts per cluster has increased from 32 to 64 (2x), the number of IOPS per host has increased from 20K to 100K (5x), the number of VMs per host has increased from 100 to 200 (2x) and the number of VMs per cluster has increased from 3200 to 6000. In addition the maximum supported virtual disk size has increased from 2TB to 62TB.

VSAN6-8

Enterprise performance & scale

In vSphere 5.5 VMware had outlined specific use cases for VSAN which included just about everything but Tier-1 apps. Now with the increase in IOPS from an All-Flash configuration and increased scaling up to 64 nodes VMware has now declared VSAN ready for Tier-1 enterprise apps.

VSAN6-9

New file system

VSAN in vSphere 5.5 used a modified file-system based on VMFS with the locking mechanisms removed that was called VMFS-L. Now in vSphere 6 they are using a whole new file system called VSAN FS that is optimized for the VSAN architecture. The upgrade to the new file system is optional but you’ll want to do it so you don’t miss out on some of the new features and scalability that VSAN has. It was reported a while back that this would be disruptive which would make it a royal pain to do but VMware claims there is now an online migration from VMFS-L to VSAN FS.

VSAN6-10

Network improvements

On the network side VSAN now supports Layer 3 network configurations, apparently this was frequently requested. VSAN also now supports Jumbo Frames that may give a tiny boost in performance and also help reduce CPU overhead in larger deployments. VSAN also support both Standard & Distributed vSwitches but vDS is recommended so you can leverage Network I/O Control.

VSAN6-11

High Density Attached Storage

This new hardware support allows for denser VSAN nodes using external JBOD disk and also opens the door for using blade servers as hosts that were previously not good candidates for VSAN due to limited internal disk. The support for this will be tightly controlled by VMware’s HCL for VSAN.

VSAN6-12VSAN6-13

New vsanSparse VMDK type

This new VMDK type was created to address efficiency concerns with snapshots and clones that were previously based on the traditional redo VM snapshot. This new highly efficient VMDK type takes advantage of the new VSAN FS writing and extended caching capabilities to deliver much better performance. VMware claims that this put VSAN snapshots on par with native SAN snapshots.

VSAN6-14

Improved Disk/Disk Group Evacuation

Replacing a disk in vSphere 5.5 was a pain as you had to put a host in maintenance mode prior to doing it. Now in vSphere 6 you have the ability to evacuate data from individual disks and disk groups to make the process much less disruptive.

VSAN6-15

New Disk Serviceability

vSphere 6 makes it easier to map out physical disks in a VSAN node by introducing a new disk serviceability feature that will allow you to view individual disk from within the vSphere client. There is also more interaction with disk hardware as you can now turn disk lights on and off so you can make sure you are yanking the correct drive while replacing it. You can also now specifically tag disks as SSD and local disk that might otherwise not be recognized correctly.

VSAN6-16

New Resynchronization Dashboard

A new Resynchronization Dashboard in the vSphere Client allows you to monitor the status of VMs and objects that might be resyncing due to policy changes, failures, etc. It provides you information on the bytes left to sync and the approximate time that it will finish.

VSAN6-17

Better Fault Domains

You can now define Fault Domains to group multiples host within a cluster that ensure VM replicas are spread across defined Fault Domains. This new ability helps improve resiliency and helps protect against specific failure scenarios that might be highly disruptive to VSAN such as a rack, network or power failure.

VSAN6-18

VSAN6-19

VSAN6-20

New 3rd Party File Services

This new ability allows 3rd parties to add additional capabilities and services on top of VSAN to provide value-added services. The one that is being featured with this is called File Services with NexentaConnect which essentially adds additional protocol support (SMB, NFS) to VSAN. This allows VSAN to be leveraged beyond the vSphere hosts in a cluster by any server in a data center that can use those protocols.

VSAN6-21

PowerCLI cmdlets

In vSphere 5.5 VMware developed unofficial support for VSAN using PowerCLI through one of their Flings. Now in vSphere 6 these are officially integrated and supported along with some new cmdlets.

VSAN6-22

VSAN Health Services

No VMware isn’t branching out into healthcare, VSAN Health Services provides in-depth health information on VSAN subsystems and their dependencies so you can better stay on top of the health of your VSAN environment and call a doctor when it needs it.

VSAN6-23

 

Feb 02 2015

Summary of What’s New in vSphere 6

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vSphere 6 is the newest major release of vSphere since vSphere 5.5 and with any major release it comes packed with lots of new and enhanced features along with increased scalability. While the vSphere 6 release is very storage focused with big improvements to VSAN and the launch of the VVOLs architecture there are still plenty of other things that make this an exciting release. The following is a summary of some of the big things that are new in vSphere 6, I’ll be doing additional posts that focus specifically on VSAN and VVOLs. Note while vSphere 6 has now been formally announced, it will not GA and be publicly available until March.

The Monster Host is born

We’ve had monster VMs in the past that could be sized ridiculously large, now we’re getting monster hosts as well. In vSphere 5.5 the maximum supported host memory was 4TB, in vSphere 6 that jumps up to 12TB. In vSphere 5.5 the maximum supported # of logical (physical) CPUs per host was 320 CPUs, in vSphere 6 that increases to 480 CPUs. Finally the maximum number of VMs per host increases from 512 in vSphere 5.5 to 1000 VMs per host in vSphere 6. While this is greatly increased I’m not sure there are many people brave enough to put that many VMs on a single host, imagine the fun of HA having to handle that many when a host fails.

v6-new2

vSphere clusters get twice as big

It’s not just host maximums that are increasing in vSphere 6, cluster sizes are increasing as well. vSphere 5.5 supported only 32 hosts and 4000 VMs per cluster, vSphere 6 doubles that to 64 hosts and 8000 VMs in a cluster. Note the host maximums don’t line up with the cluster maximums, 64 hosts x 1000 VMs per host equals 64000 VMs, the 8000 VMs is a limitation of vCenter Server not of the ESXi hosts.

VMs get a little bigger as well

In vSphere 5.5 a VM could be configured with up to 64 vCPUs, in vSphere 6.0 that has doubled do 128 vCPUs. It’s crazy to think a VM would ever need that many but if you have a super mega threaded application that could use them you now have more. I thought serial ports were basically dead these days but apparently there are VMs that need a lot of them as they also increased the number of serial ports that you can assign to a VM from 4 to 32. You can also remove serial and parallel ports from a VM if you don’t want them at all.

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Fault Tolerance is finally ready for prime time

The Fault Tolerance (FT) feature that was first introduced in vSphere 4 which provides the best protection of VMs by preventing any downtime in case of a host failure has always been limited to supporting a single vCPU. This prevented anyone that has an application that might require multiple vCPUs from using FT. Supporting more than one vCPU is not as simple as you might think as the 2 VMs running on separate hosts need to be kept in complete lockstep and synchronized for FT to work. VMware has spent a lot of time trying to engineer this and has teased multi-CPU FT support at VMworld sessions the last few years. Now in vSphere 6 they finally deliver it with support up to 4 vCPUs.

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VMware also changed the design of how Fault Tolerance is implemented. Previously FT worked by having 2 VMs on separate hosts, one as a primary and the other as a secondary but both VMs relied on a single virtual disk that resides on shared storage. Presumably it was done this way as keeping two virtual disks (VMDK) in perfect sync may have slowed down the VM and impacted performance. In vSphere 6 this has changed with each VM having their own virtual disk that can be located on different datastores. This change probably helped VMware overcome the lack of snapshot support in previous versions.

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In addition they have also improved some of the limitations that FT had, Eager Zeroed Thick (EZT) virtual disks are no longer required, any virtual disk type can now be used. In addition another big limitation has also been eliminated, previously you could not take VM snapshots of a FT enabled VM. While this may not sound like too big a deal remember most VM backup solutions have to take a snapshot before backing up a VM to halt writes to the virtual disk so it can be backed up. Not having support for snapshots meant you had to do it the old fashioned way using a backup agent running inside the guest OS, something that not all modern VM-only backup solutions do not support. So now you can finally backups Ft enabled VMs more easily, in addition you can also use the vSphere APIs for Data Protection with FT.

v6-new6One other thing to note about FT, it only supports a VM running on VMFS, VSAN and VVOLs is not supported. Below is a full comparison of feature support of FT on vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.

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vMotion anything, anywhere, anytime

A lot of new enhancements have been made to vMotion to greatly increase the range and capabilities of moving a VM around in your virtual infrastructure. First off you can now vMotion a VM between vSwitches, this includes moving between different types of virtual switches. So a VM can be moved from a Standard vSwitch to a Distributed vSwitch without changing its IP address and without network disruption.

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vMotion has always been restricted to moving a VM from host to host on the same vCenter Server. Now with vSphere 6 those walls come tumbling down and you can vMotion a VM from a host on one vCenter Server to another host on a different vCenter server. This does not require common shared storage between the hosts and vCenter Servers and is intended to eliminate the traditional distance boundaries of vMotion allowing you to move VMs either between local data centers, across regional data centers or even across continental data centers.

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Another vMotion enhancement has to do with latency requirements which have long dictated how far you can vMotion a VM. In vSphere 5.5 the maximum vMotion latency was 10ms which is typical of metropolitan distances (<100 miles). Now in vSphere 6 that goes way up to 100ms so you can move VMs much greater distances more in line with cross-continental distances. Some use cases for this include disaster avoidance (i.e. hurricane inbound), permanent migrations and multi-site load balancing. This really opens up the door for implementing new BC/DR possibilities.

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If that wasn’t enough vMotion also has increased network flexibility, as vMotion now has it’s very own TCP/IP stack and can cross layer 3 network boundaries.

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Yes your beloved vSphere Client is still here

Your classic Windows-based C# vSphere Client is still around, VMware hasn’t managed to kill it off yet as much as they want to. Despite it still being around, it doesn’t support any new vSphere features or functionality since vSphere 5.1 so you might only want to use it for nostalgia sake. I foresee this as the last major release of vSphere that includes it so you better get used to the vSphere Web Client. In vSphere 6 the vSphere can be used for things like Direct Access to hosts, VUM remediation or if you’re still pissed at the Web Client. They did add read only support for virtual hardware versions 10 and 11 in vSphere 6.

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The vSphere Web Client gets a lot better (and faster)

This might help change your mind about using the vSphere Web Client, there have been tons of complaints about speed and performance of it impacting usability and overall concerns with things just not being as good as they were in the class vSphere Client. Apparently VMware has heard all your griping and is finally listening as they have spent significant effort in this release of improving the performance and usability of the vSphere Web Client. Performance improvements include: improved login time, faster right click menu load and faster performance charts. Usability improvements include: recent Tasks moved to bottom (a big gripe before), flattened right click menus and deep lateral linking. The improvements are quite impressive as shown in following slide and should finally help convince admins to ditch the classic vSphere Client. One thing to note is that the Web Client does not support HTML5 yet, VMware has focused on making it better and will move to HTML5 in a later release of vSphere.

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The vCenter Server Appliance gets super-sized

Deploying and maintaining vCenter Server has always been a pain; you have to deal with Windows, the vCenter Server application, certificates, permissions, databases etc. The vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) eliminates most of that and makes deploying and upgrading vCenter Server simple and easy. The one big limitation with it though has been its lack of scalability, now in vSphere 6 the VCSA fully scales to the same limits that the vCenter Server on Windows scales to. As a result it now supports 1,000 hosts, 10,000 VMs and linked mode.

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Speaking of vCenter Server Linked Mode it gets some improvements and better support as well.

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vCenter Server authentication finally gets less complicate

A new Platform Services Controller groups together Single Sign-on, Licensing and the Certificate Authority (Root CA). It comes in 2 deployment models, an embedded model that is installed alongside vCenter Server and is intended for smaller sites with less than 2 SSO integrated solutions or an external model that can be deployed independently of vCenter Server.

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vCenter Server Certificate Lifecycle Management is your new keymaster

Dealing with security certificates has always been a royal pain in the butt in vSphere. VMware is trying to ease that pain and make it easier with 2 new solutions for complete certificate lifecycle management. The VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) is the solution that signs and provisions certificates to vCenter Server and ESXi hosts. The VMware Endpoint Certificate Service (VECS) then stores all certificates and private keys for vCenter Server, all ESXi host certificates are stored locally on each host.

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Networking does get a little bit of love also

This release is mostly dominated by storage and vCenter improvements but Network I/O Control gets some new stuff with the ability to reserve network bandwidth to guarantee service levels as outlined below.

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Jan 25 2015

How to implement good security in a virtual environment without sacrificing performance

We live in a world were security is very top of mind and companies and individuals are going to great lengths to protect their valuable data and assets. One of the trade-offs of having good security is that it tends to be very intrusive, this is just the nature of the job though, you have to examine and keep a very close eye on things to be able to effectively protect them. If you aren’t looking for anything then you’re not going to find anything until it’s too late.

In a computing environment this means you have to have special security applications running in the background to monitor for any malicious behavior or applications that might harm your files and data. This of course requires computing resources that add overhead to your computer which can take away resources and slow down the applications that you use. In a virtual environment this effect is amplified even more, because resources are shared by many VMs, the combined effect of all those VMs trying to protect themselves can really impact performance and steal away your valuable resources.

As a result of this performance vs security dilemma you need to ensure that you use good security products that are designed to to protect virtual environments with minimal impact on performance. To achieve this you need as small a security footprint as possible inside a VM, centralized security management and monitoring along with security tools that can integrate with vSphere using the vShield security APIs as shown below:

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To help with you understand this better Bitdefender has published a white paper entitled “Newest Data Center Dilemma:
Security vs. Performance” that highlights the following:

  • Traditional IT security solutions rely on agents, which are not designed to operate in today’s complex virtual environments
  • The agent-based approach to security diminishes the business value of virtualization and complicates management
  • Virtualized data centers require a centralized approach that eliminates the need for agents on every VM

The paper helps you understand the challenges with security in a virtual environment, Bitdefender has also published a white paper entitled “Securing the virtual infrastructure without impacting performance” which demonstrates the impact that traditional A/V tools can have in a virtual environment compared to security tools that are optimized for virtualization. An example of the performance impact that they found is shown below:

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Most notable is the impact that traditional A/V tools have on CPU which is pretty significant. To help provide the best security in your virtual environment with minimal performance impact I encourage you to give this papers a read and also check out their security tool designed specifically for virtualization, Gravity Zone: Security of Virtualized Environments. Based on competitive performance testing run with Login Virtual Session Indexer, (Login VSI), GravityZone – SVE has the lowest impact on applications running in virtualized environments, when compared to other virtualization security solutions. The net result of this is overall improved performance, increased resource availability and and better ROI on your investment in virtualization.

 

Jan 20 2015

A don’t miss live whiteboard virtualization show: Veeam R&D Inside Out with Gostev

Veeam is one of those companies that really tries hard to innovate and listens and responds to their customers needs and feedback. I’ve written in detail on what makes them special in this post about VeeamOn. If you know Veeam and use their products you’ve probably heard about the legendary Gostev who leads their product management team and takes the time to work with individual customers to make sure they are happy and also listens to their suggestions for improving Veeam’s products. So if he’s giving a live whiteboard session you’re going to want to be there, well turns out he is and the details are below so make sure and sign up for it:

Veeam-WB

What:

Attend a LIVE whiteboard virtualization show on Jan. 22 and hear Anton Gostev discuss the past, present and future of Veeam technology. Anton will reveal exactly how the entire product lifecycle works behind the scenes, including Veeam’s R&D, product management, quality control and support processes. Whether you are an end user or a Veeam ProPartner, this information will definitely help you interact more efficiently with the “non-sales” side of Veeam!

This session is built around live Q&A, so don’t miss your chance to ask questions* and get answers on the air at this live show.

When:

January 22  NA @ 10 a.m. ET   EMEA @ 4 p.m. CET

Why:

So you can learn the answers to the following:

  • How does Veeam innovate?
  • Why is “roadmap” a banned word at Veeam?
  • How does Veeam receive and work with your feedback?
  • Why is it important to “keep pushing” in Veeam forums?
  • What is the dark magic in the feature selection process?

How:

Register here: http://go.veeam.com/veeam-whiteboard.html

Jan 19 2015

Last call for blog-o-hol before Top vBlog 2015 voting begins

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I’ve added lots of new blogs to my vLaunchpad but I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed. Every year I get emails from bloggers after the voting starts wanting to be added but once it starts its too late as it messes up the ballot. I’ve also archived a bunch of blogs that have not blogged in over a year in a special section, those archived blogs still have good content so I haven’t removed them but since they are not active they will not be on the Top vBlog ballot.

So if you’re not listed on the vLaunchpad, here’s your last chance to get listed. Please use this form and give me your name, blog name, blog URL, twitter URL & RSS URL. I have received a bunch of entries after I updated it a few months ago that I need to add, so if you haven’t submitted your blog here’s your last chance to do it so you don’t miss out on the cool commemorative coin that the top 50 blogs will receive. So hurry on up so the voting can begin, the nominations for voting categories will be opening up very soon.

Jan 19 2015

Toss your VMs into the clouds and easily get them back again with Boomerang

Not everyone wants to run their production VMs off premise in a public cloud but there are definitely some situations where leveraging cloud based virtualization for some specific scenarios makes a lot of sense. Let’s look at a few scenarios where you might consider moving some VMs to a public cloud infrastructure and a great solution from Unitrends called Boomerang that can make the transition from private data center to public cloud and back again simple and painless.

Upgrades and migrations

Upgrading your virtual environment to a new version of vSphere can be both disruptive and stressful. As a VMware administrator I was both excited and fearful when it came time to upgrade to newer versions. Excited to start enjoying all the new features and enhancements but scared to death that something might break in a big way as a result of the upgrade. I’ll even admit I’ve stayed on older versions of vSphere way too long just because I didn’t want to go through the hassle and disruptions of an upgrade.

My preferred upgrade method to major new vSphere releases is to setup a new environment running the latest version of vSphere and then once I am sure that everything is running smooth in the new environment migrate VMs from the old environment to it. This method also provides you with an easy fallback method in case you have issues with your new environment. To do this though means you have to have new or spare hardware available which can be a showstopper unless you are close to a multi-year hardware refresh cycle.

Having a short-term off-site virtual environment available allows you to move your VMs off your existing hosts while you perform upgrades and then move them back once your upgraded virtual environment is ready.

Backup and recovery

One of the big reasons that companies are still using tape backups today is for off-premise storage of backed up VMs. You can’t afford to have your virtual environment and backups of it all in one location as a single disaster could take out both and leave you without any recovery options. Many companies have also moved to disk-based backup targets which provides more recovery options and faster recovery, replication  is also widely used to provide duplicate copies of critical VMs.

Doing backup and replication to an off-premise public cloud has many advantages including having your virtual environment and backup environment physically separated by distance, no ongoing capex or opex costs for a backup environment and less administration. You also get the benefits of having disk-based backups and having them off-premise so you can easily recover if something happens at your primary site. This is especially beneficial to smaller companies that may not be able to afford the cost of implementing a backup infrastructure and may not have the expertise or time to manage it.

Short term demand increase

If you work in retail you almost always have to deal with seasonal demand peaks which your virtual environment may not have adequate resources to handle effectively. Unless you don’t care about money, short term demand increases are a challenge for every company. To be able to meet these big spikes you have to size your virtual environment way larger then it needs to be to meet your typical everyday workload demands. If you do this you are just wasting money as the rest of the time you have too many physical resources just sitting there not being used.

The whole purpose of virtualization is to be efficient with physical resources and maximize resource usage. Sizing to met short term peaks goes against the goals of virtualization. However you can’t afford to not be able to handle those peaks though and a great solution is to expand your environment when needed to the public cloud. That way your virtual environment can temporarily grow to a public cloud when it needs to accommodate heavy demand without having to buy and maintain all that extra equipment that you may only need for 30 days out of the year. This method is referred to as “cloudbursting”.


All these scenarios require a method of getting your VMs from your private data center to a public cloud and back again, preferably in a way that is easy and cost-effective. To help with this Unitrends recently announced Boomerang which enables virtualization administrators to simply and affordably move VMs from a vSphere environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud.

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How it works is you deploy a Unitrends Boomerang virtual appliance in your vSphere environment and then sign-up for an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account. Amazon has a Free Tier available that allows you to try out AWS for free for 12 months. In addition they provide a resource usage based pricing model so you are not paying for hardware that you don’t need or use. Once Boomerang is installed you setup a Protection Group in your vSphere environment which defines which VMs you want to replicate to AWS, you can then configure an automated backup and ongoing synchronization schedule.

Once you setup a Protection Group you simply click ‘Replicate’ which will kick off an efficient replication process of your VMs within your Protection Group to AWS storage. This process typically takes 15-20 minutes for an 8GB sized VM. When the replication process is complete, you can click the ‘Deploy’ button to spin up (or power up) the VM into a running EC2 instance. Once you are happy with the newly deployed instance in AWS, you can power down your original VM at your leisure, thus completing the migration process.

When you want to bring VMs back you can “CopyBack” deployed instances inside AWS back into your vSphere environment by simply clicking the “Copy Back” button next to the “Deployed Instance” in the Boomerang Management Dashboard.

To use Boomerang, it simply costs $29.95 to protect each VM per month, or if you pay annually it’s only $19.95 for each VM per month. The first VM you protect is for free forever. Unitrends also supports a free 30 days trial for unlimited VMs, couple that with the AWS Free Trial and it costs you next to nothing to try out Boomerang and extend your virtual environment into the clouds. To find out more check out the vmboomerang website.

 

Jan 08 2015

Sneak peek at Top vBlog 2015 blogger prize

This year I thought I would do something different and designed a custom commemorative coin that each of the top 50 bloggers will receive. The coin is 2″ in size and has a diamond cut edge on it, you can see some sample coins cut the same way here. I had wanted to do separate coins for Top 10, Top 25 and Top 50 but that would of required paying for a separate die mold for each which gets costly. So instead I put Top 50 on the coin and am using different metal finishes to signify this. The Top 10 will get a Shiny Gold coin, 11-25 will get a Antique Silver coin and 26-50 will get a Antique Copper coin.

Of course all this is made possible by Infinio who is the official sponsor for Top vBlog 2015, stay tuned for more info as things will be starting up soon. Make sure you don’t miss out on any info related to the contest by subscribing via email using my sidebar widget to be notified of any new posts from vSphere-land. You can check out the coin design proofs below.

6CFA-25440A01-1 (2)[8][6]

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